What is a cow worth today? That provides a framework for valuation in ancient times.

Momma Cow and calf. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Comparing prices and values over a long period of time is tough to do.

For example, how can we compare the cost to live for a year in the Viking Age to today? How can we understand the cost of a sword that cost X ounces of silver?

This involves not only converting the value of silver then to now but also adjusting for the very low standard of living then (you hope all your family survives the winter and hope you live long enough to see a grandchild from each of your children) to the high standard of living with long life expectancy today.

One way is to look at the value of something back then and the value of something today.

This post looks at the value of a cow today in order to provide some frame of reference for ancient times.

What is a cow worth today?

An article from Farm and Ranch Guide back in 2012 gives some good info: What’s a cow worth? Determining the value of a cow important to success. (Update:  Link no longer works. Article is not visible on that website. Several articles on the ‘net refer to the article but don’t have the text. I can’t find the original article.)

Article provides education on how to price cows and calculate their production. Lots of brand new information for me and the detail would be good training for someone learning to run a farm.

Here is some info relevant to my blog:

Continue reading “What is a cow worth today? That provides a framework for valuation in ancient times.”

What was the cost to hire an entire Viking army?

In the Viking Age, if you saw this from a distance, you were about to have the worst day of your life. Of course these guys are friendly since their shields are still in place. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A large contingent of trained, well armed warriors could hire themselves out as mercenaries for a nice wage during the Viking age.  Vikings at War by Kim Hjardar and Vegard Vike gives us a specific example.

Edmund Ringson reached a good deal with Prince Jaroslav in Novgorod back in 1016.

Jaroslav needed to defend himself from his brother, who had already killed off a few other brothers.

Edmund, having been exiled, had 600 warriors with him.

Let’s look at their one year deal.

Prince Jaroslav would provide a great hall for the company, which obviously means provide housing for all the troops.

He would also provide all the food they wanted, with the description in the book of “the best provisions.”

So up to this point the Prince essentially agreed to provide all the living costs for a year since near-subsistence farmers spent essentially all their time providing themselves and their family food and shelter.

The serious part of the wages were one ounce of silver per man per month. Ship captains would get an extra half ounce per month. I will add my wild guess that Edmund got a multiple of the base; I will assume 10 ounces of silver per month.

Continue reading “What was the cost to hire an entire Viking army?”